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Adoptive Breastfeeding

One hundred % natural adoptive breastfeeding


My husband and I have been considering adoption. I am interested in doing breastfeeding if we do adopt.

I really do not want to do any hormones/herbs I would like it to be all natural. (Take meds that could interfere with them).

I recently purchased a breastfeeding pump and plan to use that several times a day. (Will work my way up to 8-10 times daily).

How long could it take for me to start lactating?
At this point I’m not worried about having enough for him/her. I just want to get started to see if I can even lactate on my own.

Will it only take 2-3 months? 6 months?
I still have time since we haven’t started the adoption process, but wanted to be prepared for if/when we do start.


I didn’t use medications, but I did use herbs. I got 1-2 drops out of one breast after a few weeks. It’s very likely that without herbs at least, you won’t get a full supply. I don’t know anyone who lactated without using anything, so I’d estimate that you’re looking at longer than it took for me to get drops, but who knows? If you’ve breastfed before it will be easier than if you never have. I ended up stopping the pumping and herbs after our failed match, and then our daughter came out of nowhere and was in the NICU so ultimately I gave up. There is a really good Facebook group called Adoptive Breastfeeding that you should check out too if you haven’t already. Really informative! Good luck!

Posted by Hopeful777 on Feb 01, 2016 at 4:47am

Thanks! I’ve never breastfed or pregnant.
Still think it is possible?

I will definitely check into the Facebook group.

Sorry your experience was not a good one, do you still allow her to latch on for bonding?

Posted by Xanadu on Feb 01, 2016 at 5:11am

Alyssa is the leading expert in this area and contributes to Adoptive Families. You can contact her thru her website at
A good article on this topic is
She lives near me and is the nicest woman.  I know other women who have spoken with her, read her book and gotten lots of great info.
Best of luck!!

Posted by Danielle Pennel on Feb 01, 2016 at 2:59pm


Posted by Xanadu on Feb 01, 2016 at 3:13pm

Whoever fixed my topic, thanks! For some reason it did not let me fix my mistake! :-D

Posted by Xanadu on Feb 01, 2016 at 3:49pm

Congratulations on your adoption plans!  While most mothers who induce lactation use herbs and/or meds there are certainly ways to do it without.  There are definitively pros and cons with whichever approach you take, so the key is to find an approach that fits your circumstances, health needs, and values.  My book, Breastfeeding Without Birthing, lists 5 different protocols for inducing lactation: 3 without any herbs or meds, one with herbs only, and one with meds.  When I consult with mothers, we often come up with an individualized protocol for inducing lactation - one that combines some of the other protocols to be just the right fit for that mom.  I do both in-person and phone consultations (for folks who aren’t local to me).  There is also a listing on my website of lactation consultants who work with adoptive breastfeeding. and
Best of luck!!

Posted by Alyssa IBCLC on Feb 01, 2016 at 5:05pm

Thanks! I bought your book yesterday! What is he one called that does not have herbs or meds so I can focus on that one?

Posted by Xanadu on Feb 01, 2016 at 6:19pm

Congratulations on your adoption plan! I breastfed my boy (adopted) I had previously had breastfed my older girl (bio) so the first few drops of calostrum and milk were not so difficult to obtaine without talking anything (a few days) but. I did take various things to keep and increase my production. I did use fernogreco capsules,  homeopatic drops an metoclopramida for a while. My son took to the breast immediatley despite having been bottlefed for a week and I used a medela supplementator (not sure if that is the actual name) so baby could drink formula and breadtmilk at the same time and that worked wonders. I stop taking things after a few months and was able to breastfeed him for 2 years. Hope this will help and good luck. I am a breastfeeding consultant and adoptive brestfeedi g mom so if u want to contact me privately please do so

Posted by drayn on Feb 01, 2016 at 8:27pm

Awesome! Thanks how do I contact you privately?

Posted by Xanadu on Feb 01, 2016 at 9:23pm

Congratulations - I sincerely hope it works out for you!  I was planning to breastfeed initially when I was matched with expectant parents for one of my boys so I rented a hospital-grade pump and for about a month would use that to help induce lactation.  For me, it was definitely worth the expense to induce lactation as it had started to work.  It was amazing.

The match ended up not working out as the father changed his mind about placement.  My subsequent placement was several months later with very short notice so I didn’t have time to prepare in advance with pumping.  Unfortunately, breastfeeding didn’t work out for me as I had hoped.  But, I did end up buying a Lact-Aid supplemental nursing system with the intent to use it, though I never did.  I am willing to sell it if you’re interested - send me a private message (you can do that by clicking on my user name then clicking the button to send a private message). 

Either way - I really hope it works for you.  It’s an amazing experience.

Posted by pesty on Feb 08, 2016 at 4:38am

petty,  did you use any herbs?
Did you have a previous pregnancy that helped you to start lactation again?

I’ve never been pregnant so I’m hoping I can make it work.

Posted by Xanadu on Feb 22, 2016 at 3:54pm

Do remember that, if you are planning to adopt internationally or through foster care, you aren’t going to be getting a newborn.  In many cases, the child may be well over a year old when he/she comes home.

Many parents who wanted to do adoptive breastfeeding have been disappointed to find that their new, non-newborn infant or toddler had absolutely no interest in the subject.  Once a child has been receiving most or all his/her nutrition from a bottle, it is not easy to get him/her to return to breastfeeding, even when a woman has an excellent milk supply. 

The good news is that, if your child does not want to breastfeed, drinking your pumped milk from a bottle will confer at least some of the health benefits of breastfeeding on him/her.  And you can still do a lot of skin contact activities to promote bonding.  As an example, some Moms get into the bathtub with their one-year olds. Aside from the closeness, it helps some children overcome their fear of bathing.

It is certainly worth trying to see if your child will latch on and return to breastfeeding.  But do not consider yourself a failure if he/she does not.  You can still raise a healthy, attached child without doing so.


Posted by sak9645 on Feb 23, 2016 at 12:30am

Sorry for the late reply Xanadu:  No, I had not had a previous pregnancy at the time I started to induce lactation.

As for herbs/supplements, I took fenugreek and blessed thistle as well as drank Mother’s Milk tea.  I struggled a bit with that as I’m not a fan of black licorice/anise.  And to be honest, not sure how much those helped me.  Personally, I found my production was more affected by how calm I could make myself.  Anytime I was anxious thinking about being on the wait list, I had a noticeable difference in production.

I did nurse with my second boy for several months and after all is said and done, I don’t think it made a difference either way in attachment.  We did a lot of skin-to-skin contact with both boys as infants so maybe that was sufficient?

Posted by pesty on Feb 29, 2016 at 8:34pm

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